“It’s funny, the relationships I have,” Donald Trump told the Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. “The tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them. … The easy ones are the ones I maybe don’t like as much or don’t get along with as much.”
President Trump has upended the United States’ role in the world, pulling the country out of international agreements, withdrawing it from global institutions, and undermining its sacrosanct alliances. But perhaps one of the most visible ways in which he has altered world affairs has been in his chosen friendships. Trump’s penchant for personality politics has led him to find common cause with leaders in whom he sees a bit of himself: populists and nationalists who share a disregard for norms, a disdain for dissent, and a dedication to strengthening their own power.
Some have been from more traditional American partner nations, while others lead countries with whom the U.S. has previously been on tenser terms. All, however, have benefited from having a like-minded ally in the White House—one who has proved willing to not only turn a blind eye to their illiberal tendencies, but also applaud them.
Here are some of the world leaders who have gained the most from Trump’s presidency, and who stand to have the most to lose should this term be his last.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
If there is one world leader who has fully committed himself to Trump, it is Bolsonaro. The far-right populist’s appeals to the American president began as early as his 2018 campaign for the Brazilian presidency, during which he echoed Trump’s defiance of political correctness and contempt for the establishment. Like Trump, he has made crude statements about women and minorities, lashed out against experts and “fake news,” and peddled conspiracy theories. He welcomed his association with the American president as the “Trump of the Tropics” and even adopted his own version of Trump’s “America First” slogan: “Brazil above all.”